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Archaeology Archives - Page 10 of 11 - varnamvarnam | Page 10
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Tag Archives | Archaeology

Where is Krishna's Dwaraka?

During the time of the Harappan Civilization, a major enterprise was the shell industry located in Bet Dwaraka, an island located 30 km north of Dwaraka. This artefact making industry was more popular than both ivory and bone and recent excavations have revealed that the industry was bigger than previously assumed.

“The presence of cut and unfinished pieces and waste pieces on the island tells us that this was an industry site,” Gaur said. The NIO team found fragments of bangles, beads, a seal and unfinished ladles from the Bet Dwaraka site.

While archaeologists have suspected that the shell artefacts for the Indus people came from the Gulf of Kutch, only one site for an ancient shell industry had been identified 15 years ago — Nageshwar, a Harappan site on the Gujarat coast. The studies by the NIO scientists on Bet Dwarka, conducted during 2000-01, show that the island’s shell-industry might have been one of the largest enterprises of its time.

In a report in the latest issue of the journal Current Science, scientists have documented similarities between the shells at Bet Dwarka and artefacts recovered from Harappan sites. A unique late Harappan seal constructed out of a conch shell with a short-horned bull, a unicorn and goat engraved on it found during underwater excavation near the island is similar to a seal recovered from Mohenjodaro.[Hint of Harappa shell industry]

When we mention Dwaraka, we have to talk about Krishna. Marine Archaeologist S R Rao found evidence of a city under the sea in Dwaraka and since some of the specifications matched the description of Dwaraka mentioned in Harivamsha, a prologue of Mahabharata, some people concluded that it was Krishna’s Dwaraka.

Not so fast, says a scientist at ISRO. Krishna’s Dwaraka was not in Jamnagar, but in Junagad according to Dr P S Thakker and also there nine sites in Gujarat which claim to be Krishna’s Dwaraka.

A senior scientist with the ISRO’s space application centre, Dr P S Thakker, who has worked on this project, said, What is interesting is that ISRO’s findings corroborate what is mentioned in the vedas and other ancient Hindu scriptures about the geographical location of Dwaraka but contradicts what the archaeologists and modern historians say about the present Dwarka which they claim is in Jamnagar district of Gujarat.

Though the study was done by the ISRO four years back it was confined to abstract papers on a dusty shelf.

Satellite images can pinpoint things that are not visible to the naked eye. For example, it can indicate the presence of ruins of a city which has been long buried under the soil.[Lord Krishna’s Dwarka not in Jamnagar but in Junagadh: ISRO]

But then what about the city which S R Rao discovered?

However, Mr Thakker claims this unknown feature of a city discovered by Dr Rao could be any other city settled after he said that the study of the satellite data perfectly matches with the description given in Tri Shasthi Shlaka Purush Charta (history of 63 outstanding personalities) written by Hemchandrachary, a distinguished Jain muni of the 11th century who has given a geographical description of Lord Krishna’s Dwarka built by kuber at Lord Indra’s behest.

Mr Thakker said the presence of Navda village in the vicinity (which means boat) and milollite limestone found in the vicinity of Girnar in Junagadh suggested the presence of a sea in this area.

Thus it seems that Lord Vasudev’s dwarka which was submerged in the sea as well and the Dwarka of Lord Krishna were located in Junagadh district near Prabhash Kshetra. Excavation and further study is required to get more scientific information on Dwarka, he added.[Lord Krishna’s Dwarka not in Jamnagar but in Junagadh: ISRO]

Here is the connection from the two stories. The sea shell sites excavated in Bet Dwaraka are 3800 years taking it back to around 1800 B.C which was the declining phase of the Harappan Civilization. According to Dr. Takker, Lord Vasudeva’s Dwaraka submerged in the Arabian Sea about 3500 years back, i.e 1500 B.C. Interesting times in Gujarat, it must have been.

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New temple at Mahabalipuram

The tsunami that hit South India revealed many historical artifacts. This includes some new rock carvings, deep sea structures and a granite lion which was seen briefly in 1980. The rock temple at Mahabalipuram survived the tsunami, but post-tsunami archaeology suggests that there were more temples in the region. A new temple has been excavated north of Mahabalipuram, and is suspected to be built between second century B.C and first century A.D.

The archaeologists are trying to determine the date of the tsunami that may have destroyed the temple from sand and seashells found at the brick structure, dedicated to Lord Muruga, a Hindu god, Satyamurthy told The Associated Press.

He said there was more damage on the side of the temple facing the sea, and that the sand and shells were not normally found so far inland.

The temple was found one layer below a granite temple excavated by the same team in July, leading archaeologists to theorize that the Pallava kings, who ruled the region between 580 A.D and 728 A.D., built the latter temple atop the remains of the older one.

The team also found stucco figurines, terra-cotta lamps, beads and roofing tiles. Similar articles and large bricks were typically used around the beginning of the first millennium, he said.

The ruins of the temple north of Mahabalipuram that Satyamurthy discussed Wednesday were not uncovered by the recent tsunami, and excavation did not begin until after the waves struck.

But the finding of that temple and the structures uncovered by last year’s tsunami has revived a debate over whether references in ancient literature to cities and towns being submerged by violent waves referred to a tsunami.

“We could never study an ancient tsunami without having some man-made materials surviving from that time,” Satyamurthy said. “This temple is our link to that.”

He said archaeologists have discovered similar deposits of sand and shells at excavations in the town of Poompuhar, another ancient port south of where the latest temple was found.[Indian Ruins Show Signs of Ancient Tsunami]

Picture 1 shows how close the site is to the sea and Picture 2 shows workers cleaning the site.

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Help the ASI

The Archaeological Survey of India is busy with various thing – conducting archaeology, preserving monuments, enlightening people, all while messing up things. Also it is cash strapped for doing archaeology. So maybe we all can follow the steps of an Italian computer programmer, use Google Earth and help the ASI

Using satellite images from Google Maps and Google Earth, an Italian computer programmer has stumbled upon the remains of an ancient villa. Luca Mori was studying maps of the region around his town of Sorbolo, near Parma, when he noticed a prominent, oval, shaded form more than 500 metres long. It was the meander of an ancient river, visible because former watercourses absorb different amounts of moisture from the air than their surroundings do.

His eye was caught by unusual ‘rectangular shadows’ nearby. Curious, he analysed the image further, and concluded that the lines must represent a buried structure of human origin. Eventually, he traced out what looked like the inner courtyards of a villa.

Mori, who describes the finding on his blog, Quellí Della Bassa, contacted archaeologists, including experts at the National Archaeological Museum of Parma. They confirmed the find. At first it was thought to be a Bronze Age village, but an inspection of the site turned up ceramic pieces that indicated it was a Roman villa. [Enthusiast uses Google to reveal Roman ruins]

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Preserving ancient inscriptions

The Archaeological Survey of India is doing something unbelievable. It has embarked on a project to make normal junta aware of the history of religious places and explain the various inscriptions on temple walls

In Uthamallingeswarar temple, the inscriptions reveal that temples were used as a social centre such as bank, theatre and as Ian agricultural centre. But most of these inscriptions have been damaged.

Most of the stone inscriptions give the devotees an insight into the social structure during that period, especially, the agrarian and trade sectors.

“This temple was constructed during 12th century. Here we find large number of inscriptions in and around this temple revealing details of the ancient history, particularly in the field of agriculture and trade. We are maintaining this temple for the past three generation,” said Periyasamy, Trustee of the temple.

“I had been to many temples all over the country. During my visit to these temples I used to read all the stone inscriptions on the walls of the temples. From this Uthamallingeswarar temple, I found few inscriptions that give some details about the agricultural administration of the king in those days,” says Subramaniam, a devotee.

Most of the inscriptions found in South India particularly from Tamil Nadu are in Brahmi scripts, are also known as Tamil Brahmi. [Temples’ inscriptions a rich source of history]

If these inscriptions have to be read, the historic structures have to be well preserved. Considering the shoddy work the ASI is doing in that area, we may even lose what we have.

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karshapana


As the towns and cities of the Gangetic plain got established, coins were also introduced in trading activity. Silver punch-marked coins, copper punch-marked coins and cast copper coins were used as currency. These coins were called punch-marked, following the manufacturing technique, where the symbol was punched on the metal in a separate action[3].

Then there were coins that imitated the Greek, Roman and Iranian styles. Coins minted elsewhere such as the denarii of the Roman Empire, were also used in India. But the most commonly used coin was called the karshapana or pana. Kautilya uses pana in his Arthashastra quite a lot. He wrote that high officials were to be paid 48,000 panas every year, provincial and frontier governors 12,000 panas and Grade I courtesans 3,000 panas.

The reason we are talking about karshapana today is due to the the discovery that the Late Priyamvada Birla had some of these coins concealed in her library and since it was not declared to ASI, she would have been jailed if she were alive.

According to National Museumâ??s numismatist Rita Debi Sharma, who saw photographs of the treasure, the coins included the most rare karshapana belonging to the Gandhara Janapada, dating back between 5th and 6th century BC.

The treasure also included 5th century AD gold coins from the Gupta period and 16th century Mughal gold coins. The treasure trove was inside a secret room, whose door was concealed behind a wooden panel of Priyamvadaâ??s library. Three pistols, along with their licences, were also found. Another safe in the vault is yet to be opened.

According to Sharma, “The karshapana coin found in the vault is very rare. Generally such bent bar coins have two symbols engraved on them. Those which have been found to have a single symbol are even more rare. However, the gold coins from the Gupta and Mughal periods are comparatively younger in age.”

Director of National Museum Dr K K Chakroborty added, “I have not seen the coins found in the vault of Priyamvada Birla. But I know that some from Samudraguptas time are rare and aesthetically and artistically very valuable. Finding so many from one place is unbelievable.” [Birla gold: Coins other side ]

Food for thought: How does a Grade III courtesan become a Grade I courtesan?

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